Before we get started we really want to congratulate you for the last part of the elements series which was released a couple of days ago. It is an epic one, we really couldn’t get enough of it.
Let’s get back in time… Could you tell us how you relationship with music has started and how you reached out to music in a world without google?
My father collected records when we lived in Poland, and he also played drums in a band. I grew up with him exposing me to a wide variety of music, ranging from well known rock and roll (like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd), to obscure Eastern European groups, to avante garde experimental stuff like the Residents. when we moved to the states, it was about when CD’s were really taking off, so I started going to pawn shops with my dad and just looking for things that caught my eye in the cheap CDs they sold, and my parents signed up for programs like Columbia House and BMG, which were famous for their “Buy 11 CD’s for a Dollar” type of programs. Eventually I started listening to the ‘alternative music’ that was becoming popular in the early 90’s. That term was funny, because everything from grunge to punk to certain hip hop (like Beastie Boys) was just lumped into ‘alternative.’ Slowly I fell more and more in love with hip hop, and was also picking up albums by Daft Punk and the Chemical Brothers and going to raves (which were more common in Colorado at the time than good hip hop shows)
As for actually making music and playing instruments, when i was 9 or 10 I took piano lessons for a couple years, but never really wanted to become a classical piano virtuoso, so I grew bored with it. In Junior High School I took about a year of guitar lessons, and by the age of 14 I was already trying to start bands with my friends. I had basic training in piano and guitar, but have never been much into music theory. I like stumbling around until it sounds right, rather than being confident that theoretically my music is correct. kind of an ‘ignorance is bliss’ approach, but it works for me. Around the age of 15 I began fumbling with Cool Edit, a basic but useful software platform for manipulating sounds. My dad was using it to record in and edit tapes from Poland, but I started playing with it as a beat making device. there were no midi channels so everything I made was cut and paste from CD’s around the house and files my father had imported off of tapes. I didn’t even realize it had a multi-track view, so I worked for a year or so just piecing things together cut and paste on a single track. I would create silence, paste in individual pieces then copy and ‘mix-paste’ the piece on top of each other to create loops.There was no grid, no quantization. I would highlight a drum loop and say to myself “ok, this is 2.547 seconds long, i’ve gotta divide that by 4 and that’s the length of a quarter note, so that’s amount of time i need to highlight on the sample i want to bring in on the 1″…very tedious but it was a great way to learn through trial and error.
Eventually, my parents bought me Acid Pro 2.0 for christmas, which made putting samples together a LOT easier. About 2 years later I bought my first MPC 2000xl, and began using that and a variety of DAW’s to make my music, but this was all before you could just Google “how to make beats” and our area didn’t have a lot of producers or anyone with know how on how to sample or make music digitally. I remember being a kid and wondering how the beats were made in the hip hop songs I loved. I just had NO idea. Slowly I learned about digging, about chopping and manipulating samples, and matching them to create something different in itself. Now I’m addicted to digging.
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Getting back to present… Elements series have been completed, could you tell us about your new projects?
I’m trying to finish a sample-free EP that I’ve been stewing over for the last 3 years. Originally I intended it to be a short film, and I had written a treatment and was working on storyboarding the shots for filming, but I never found funding for it, so it got placed on the back burner. Now that I’ve finished Elements, I’m gathering up the pieces I left scattered and putting this EP back together, even if the visual portion of the songs never happens. It’s a very analog synth driven warm retro feeling project, but with hard hitting drums and the aesthetics that I use in sampling.
Electic Touch EP with Break Science, released by Pretty Lights Music is really an outstanding one.. Are you planning any similar collaborations?
I’m working on tracks with several fellow PLM artists, whether it be collaboration or remixing. Paul Basic and I have a project called Half Color that’s definitely going to be out in the not too distant future. I’ve also been collaborating with artists outside of the label, like Eligh (of Living Legends), Mux Mool, and NitGrit. On top of all that, I’ve been working to assemble a band to interpret some of my more organic and ‘live’ sounding songs for performance, as well as creating new material in the band setting, because I often miss that element of group creativity.
Are you planning to come to Istanbul as part of a Europe Tour? Maybe we can see you here?
Yes! I’ve been trying to manifest a European tour for quite some time now. Istanbul is high on my list of places to go, whether it be on tour or just vacation. I’ve been collecting turkish psych-rock albums for the past 4 or 5 years, after hearing mixes by the Gas Lamp Killer that dropped Baris Manco tracks in amongst EDM, so a big part of my desire is to scour the city’s record stores for lost gold. If Gramatik would bring me along, I’d gladly go. Denis is a good friend and I love touring with him. If you know any promoters, let them know I’m willing and ready to play in Turkey!
Does your being interested in Turkish musicians foretell us that we’ll also be hearing some local melodies&instruments in your music some time?
Definitely… I’ve dabbled in Eastern samples quite a bit, drawing from artists like Erkin Koray and Mavi Işıklar, but have had a desire to study the eastern instruments for a while. Ideally in the future I’ll have access to a variety of instruments and will be able to create many of the sounds that I look for in samples on my own. I’ve made a lot of sample free music in the past, and want to continue on that path, being able to make both sample-based AND sample-free music. Each approach has it’s benefits and I love both takes on production.
Thanks for sparing some time for us. We are looking forward to listening to your new projects. Is there anything you want to say to your listeners here?
Thank you for finding my music! It’s incredible to know that I have fans in Turkey, it still blows my mind that I have fans at all! I really hope fate brings me to your amazing country soon and that I’m to make friends with some of you! Keep sharing and spreading the music and love. And send me recipes, music, anything you come across that would help me get a little bit of Turkey in my system in the mean time .